TALLAHASSEE ? Recognizing the benefits of time spent outdoors in Florida?s
environment, Governor Charlie Crist recently signed a
July as Parks and Recreation Month. The Florida Department of Environmental
Protection?s (DEP) Division of Recreation and Parks, along with Governor Crist,
is encouraging families and friends to explore and enjoy nature and celebrate
the 75th Anniversary of Florida State Parks.
Continuing the theme of Family. Friends. Fun., Florida?s 160 state parks will
host events throughout the state for individuals and families of all ages and
interests. Day-use entry into all state parks (except Skyway Fishing Pier) will
be free on Saturday, July 17 to provide an opportunity for residents and
visitors to head outdoors and experience Florida?s environment.
?Parks and Recreation Month increases awareness of the value and important
benefits of recreation and parks to individuals, families and communities,? said
DEP?s Deputy Secretary of Land and Recreation Bob Ballard. ?Florida?s state
parks provide an excellent avenue to escape from the rigors of every day life
and enjoy all of the benefits and treasures of the great outdoors.?
Florida?s state parks will also offer an Independence Day Photo Contest for
Twitter followers, allowing visitors to share their Parks and Recreation Month
memories. Participants can enter to win a free Family Annual Entrance Pass and
other prizes simply by tweeting their favorite photo taken at a Florida state
park from July 1 through July 10, 2010. For contest information follow Florida
State Parks on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FLStateParks.
Select events throughout the state are listed below. To view a full list of
park events visit,
Early Boat Tour
Wakulla Springs State Park
Saturday, July 10, 8:00 a.m.
Participants will enjoy the early morning sights and sounds as they cruise the
scenic Wakulla River. Breakfast is available in the historic Wakulla Springs
Lodge. The event is $10 for adults and $7 for children. For more information,
call (850) 926-0700.
Breakfast with a Ranger
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Saturday, July 10,
9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Join the rangers of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and
ask them all the questions you can think of about park life. This program is
family oriented and ideal for the whole family to enjoy. To cover the cost of
food, please bring $4, which goes to Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
to enhance the park or bring your own breakfast. Park entry fee for this event
is waived. For more information, call (850) 267-8330.
Family Fun Day
Manatee Springs State Park
Saturday, July 3, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00
Participants will enjoy games such as the three-legged race, sponge game
and more. There will be competitive races for family teams. Events are set up
for every visitor to safely participate with little or no assistance required.
All activities are free with park admission. For more information, call
Beginning Bird Watching
Fort George Island Cultural State Park
31, 2:00 p.m.
Join a Park Ranger for a program that will introduce you to bird
watching. Topics include the basic tools available to birdwatchers, and the
basics of bird habitat, behavior, and identification. This program will take
place at the Ribault Club on Fort George Island Cultural State Park. No
reservations are necessary and the program is free with regular park admission.
For more information, call (904)-251-2320.
Saltwater Fishing Workshop
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Every Thursday in 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Kid?s Workshop Every Friday in July,
9:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
Sponsored by the Friends of Washington Oaks Gardens State
Park, this event will consist of demonstrations of techniques anglers use to
catch fish, the importance of conservation and safety, learning to identify
saltwater fish species commonly caught in this area, and how to use a fishing
rod and reel. The kids four hour workshop is open for ages eight to 17 years
old, the adult four hour workshop is for ages 18 and up. Space is limited and
advanced registration is required, the fee is $20.00, including park entrance.
For more information, call (386) 446-6783.
Junior Ranger Academy
Blue Spring State Park
Saturday, July 3, 10:00 a.m. -
Saturday, July 17, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Saturday, July 31, 10:00
a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Participants will participate in educational games,
activities, stories, and more related to Florida wildlife. Attend two or more
sessions and receive a Blue Spring State Park Junior Ranger Patch! The program
is best suited for children grades K-5. All activities are free with park
admission. For more information, call (386) 775-3663.
Firecracker 5K Race
Highlands Hammock State Park
Sunday, July 4, 7:30 a.m.
Wear red, white and blue and show your patriotic spirit. This race is a fast,
flat track under the hardwood hammock of Highlands Hammock State Park. Fees are
$20.00 per participant. For more information, call (863) 385-4736.
Art in the Park - Paint With All The Colors of The Wind
Friday, July 30, 7:00 p.m. ? 8:00 p.m.
A great way for the entire
family to enjoy time together making tangible memories of your time at the park
by creating art. Participants can create multimedia works of art that tell a
story that is unique to each artist?s interpretation of various pieces of music
and sounds of nature; a multi-sensory experience for all ages. Event is free and
located at the recreation hall. For more information call, (813) 987-6771.
Old Fashioned Fourth of July Picnic
The Barnacle Historic State Park
July 4, 11:00 a.m.
Enjoy the Fourth at an old-fashioned picnic on the grounds of
this 19th century pioneer home site hosted by The Barnacle Society. This event
features lawn games, kite-making, knot-tying demonstrations and more. Bring a
blanket and a picnic lunch and enjoy the day?s celebration. Fees are $5.00 for
individuals 12 years and older, $2.00 for ages six to 12 and children under six
are free. For more information, call (305) 442-6866.
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
Sunday, July 11, 1:00 p.m. -
Sunday, July 18, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Come to the park and listen to
live music from The Conch Stomp Band on Sunday, July 11 and live music from
Nathan Rich and Friends on Sunday, July 18. Both concerts are free with park
admission of $5.00 per carload. For more information, call (561) 624-6952.
Created in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, the Florida State Park system has
grown from eight to 160 parks in the last 75 years. Today, the Florida Park
Service manages more than 700,000 acres of Florida?s natural environment,
including 100 miles of beaches, eight National Historic Landmarks and 39 sites
on the National Register of Historic Places. Florida State Parks has been
recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association as the nation?s first
and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the nation?s best park service.
To learn more about the 75th Anniversary and the history of Florida State
www.floridastateparks.org/history. To follow Florida State Parks on Twitter,